IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/3142.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Solow Productivity Paradox in Historical Perspective

Author

Listed:
  • Crafts, Nicholas

Abstract

A growth accounting methodology is used to compare the contributions to growth in terms of capital-deepening and total factor productivity growth of three general-purpose technologies, namely, steam in Britain during 1780-1860, electricity and information and communications technology in the United States during 1899-1929 and 1974-2000, respectively. The format permits explicit comparison of earlier episodes with the results for ICT obtained by Oliner and Sichel. The results suggest that the contribution of ICT was already relatively large before 1995 and it is suggested that the true productivity paradox is why economists expected more sooner from ICT.

Suggested Citation

  • Crafts, Nicholas, 2002. "The Solow Productivity Paradox in Historical Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 3142, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3142
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=3142
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Trajtenberg, M., 1995. "General purpose technologies 'Engines of growth'?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 83-108, January.
    3. Nicholas Oulton, 2002. "ICT and Productivity Growth in the United Kingdom," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(3), pages 363-379.
    4. John W. Kanefsky, 1979. "Motive Power in British Industry and the Accuracy of the 1870 Factory Return," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 32(3), pages 360-375, August.
    5. Paul A. David & Gavin Wright, 1999. "Early Twentieth Century Productivity Growth Dynamics: An Inquiry into the Economic History of "Our Ignorance"," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _033, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    6. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: U.S. Economic Growth in the Information Age," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 125-236.
    7. Devine, Warren D., 1983. "From Shafts to Wires: Historical Perspective on Electrification," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(02), pages 347-372, June.
    8. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2000. "Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational Transformation and Business Performance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 23-48, Fall.
    9. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    10. Robert J. Gordon, 2000. "Does the "New Economy" Measure Up to the Great Inventions of the Past?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 49-74, Fall.
    11. Paul Schreyer, 2000. "The Contribution of Information and Communication Technology to Output Growth: A Study of the G7 Countries," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2000/2, OECD Publishing.
    12. Martin Brookes & Zaki Wahhaj, 2001. "Is the Internet Better than Electricity?," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 2(2), pages 53-72, April.
    13. Kevin J. Stiroh, 2002. "Information Technology and the U.S. Productivity Revival: What Do the Industry Data Say?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1559-1576, December.
    14. McGuckin, Robert H & Stiroh, Kevin J, 2001. "Do Computers Make Output Harder to Measure?," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 295-321, October.
    15. Dirk Pilat & Frank C. Lee, 2001. "Productivity Growth in ICT-producing and ICT-using Industries: A Source of Growth Differentials in the OECD?," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2001/4, OECD Publishing.
    16. Jack E. Triplett, 1999. "The Solow productivity paradox: what do computers do to productivity?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 32(2), pages 309-334, April.
    17. Karl Whelan, 2002. "Computers, Obsolescence, And Productivity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 445-461, August.
    18. David, P.A., 1989. "Computer And Dynamo: The Modern Productivity Paradox In A Not-Too Distant Mirror," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 339, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    19. M. Blaug, 1961. "The Productivity Of Capital In The Lancashire Cotton Industry During The Nineteenth Century," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 13(3), pages 358-381, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Bayoumi, Tamim & Haacker, Markus, 2002. "It's Not What You Make, It's How You Use IT: Measuring the Welfare Benefits of the IT Revolution Across Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 3555, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Cette, Gilbert & Mairesse, Jacques & Kocoglu, Yusuf, 2005. "Effets de la diffusion des technologies de l’information sur la croissance potentielle et observée," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 81(1), pages 203-230, Mars-Juin.
    3. Crafts, Nicholas, 2014. "Productivity Growth during the British Industrial Revolution: Revisionism Revisited," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 204, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    4. Kriedel, Norbert, 2006. "Long waves of economic development and the diffusion of general-purpose technologies: The case of railway networks," HWWI Research Papers 1-1, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    5. Jalava, Jukka & Pohjola, Matti, 2008. "The roles of electricity and ICT in economic growth: Case Finland," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 270-287, July.
    6. Nicholas Oulton, 2002. "ICT and Productivity Growth in the United Kingdom," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(3), pages 363-379.
    7. Pierre-Alain Muet, 2006. "Impacts économiques de la révolution numérique," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 57(3), pages 347-375.
    8. Recuero Virto, Laura & Bacache, Maya, 2009. "TIC et croissance économique
      [ICT and economic growth]
      ," MPRA Paper 28254, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2009.
    9. Knick Harley, 2003. "Growth theory and industrial revolutions in Britain and America," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 36(4), pages 809-831, November.
    10. Cette, Gilbert & Mairesse, Jacques & Kocoglu, Yusuf, 2005. "ICT diffusion and potential output growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 231-234, May.
    11. Díaz Chao, A., 2003. "El efecto de las tecnologías digitales en la competitividad de la empresa española./The effect of digital technologies in the spanish firm competitivenses," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 21, pages 521-534, December.
    12. Sanchís Llopis, M. Teresa, 2005. "Disaggregated productivity growth and technological progress in the interpretation of Spanish economic growth, 1958-1975," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH dilf0503, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    13. Gilbert Cette & Christian Pfister, 2003. "The challenges of the "new economy" for monetary policy," BIS Papers chapters,in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Monetary policy in a changing environment, volume 19, pages 213-233 Bank for International Settlements.
    14. R. Nahuis & H. van der Wiel, 2005. "How Should Europe’s ICT Ambitions look like? An Interpretative Review of the Facts," Working Papers 05-22, Utrecht School of Economics.
    15. Patrizio Pagano & Massimo Sbracia, 2014. "The secular stagnation hypothesis: a review of the debate and some insights," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 231, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    16. Gilbert Cette & Jacques Mairesse & Yusuf Kocoglu, 2004. "Diffusion des TIC et croissance potentielle," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 114(1), pages 77-97.
    17. Crafts, Nicholas, 2012. "Western Europe's Growth Prospects: an Historical Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 8827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. Gilbert Cette & Christian Pfister, 2004. "Challenges of the “New Economy” for Monetary Policy," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 8, pages 27-36, Spring.
    19. Crafts, Nicholas & O’Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj, 2014. "Twentieth Century Growth*This research has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement no. 249546.," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 263-346 Elsevier.
    20. Tai-Yoo Kim & Jihyoun Park & Eungdo Kim & Junseok Hwang, 2011. "The Faster-Accelerating Digital Economy," TEMEP Discussion Papers 201173, Seoul National University; Technology Management, Economics, and Policy Program (TEMEP), revised Apr 2011.
    21. Chadha, J.S. & Nolan, C., 2001. "Supply Shocks and the ‘Natural Rate of Interest': an Exploration," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0103, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    22. A. Bergeaud & G. Cette & R. Lecat, 2016. "The role of production factor quality and technology diffusion in 20th century productivity growth," Working papers 588, Banque de France.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    general purpose technologies; growth accounting; productivity paradox;

    JEL classification:

    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3142. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.